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Compiled Sanet van Zijl
A project is currently underway at the Omburu Solar Energy Plant outside of Omaruru, where 1000 solar energy modules are being installed daily.
Namibia generally has one season year round – Summer. This means plenty of sunshine all day. What better way to take advantage of the weather for the good of the planet than to harness it to generate solar power?
The plant will have a capacity of 4,5 megawatt once it is fully set up. A team of about 80 people work on the premises each day in order to install the solar panels. About 50% of the tracking system has already been completed. The tracking system is the structure on which solar panels are installed in order to produce more electricity when the demand for it is high, such as in the mornings or evenings.
The plan is to finish construction at the site by the end of the month. Thereafter, the national energy supplier, NamPower, will conduct tests before the plant will be integrated fully into the national power network.
The French company, Innosun, is developing Omburu. They also own the independent energy provider – Omburu Energy. It is the first large scale photovoltaic energy development park in Namibia and the expectation is that it will generate 11 071 MW of clean energy that will be added to NamPower’s electricity network.
Photovoltaics (PV) is a method of converting solar energy into direct current electricity using semi-conducting materials. A photovoltaic system employs solar panels comprised of a number of solar cells to supply usable solar power. Power generation from solar PV has long been seen as a clean, sustainable energy technology, which draws upon the planet’s most plentiful and widely distributed renewable energy source – the sun. The direct conversion of sunlight to electricity occurs without any moving parts or environmental emissions during operation. It is well proven, as photovoltaic systems have now been used for fifty years in specialized applications.
The Omburu PV plant will replace 5 537 ton of Carbon Dioxide with 11 075 MW of clean and reliable electricity for the next 25 years. Innosun plans on launching similar projects in the near future that will increase Namibia’s energy capacity to make it an electricity-independent country.
The renewable energy plant will contribute more than 1% to the country’s total energy needs. It will produce Carbon Dioxide free electricity as soon as it is handed over to NamPower early in 2015.